Understanding the GI Bill can be difficult.
The benefits from it are immense but attaining those benefits can be nearly impossible if you do not understand the system, or you may find you have to pay back the government because it was discovered you are ineligible for the benefits.
First and foremost, you need to know that there are essentially 2 GI Bills.
- Montgomery GI Bill
- Post 9/11 GI Bill
You should know this, but to be completely clear, the GI Bill is used for education benefits.
The government understands that a highly educated armed forces is a stronger armed forces, so they have provided a way that members can receive education at low or no cost.
I am going to go through some of the most frequently asked questions about the GI Bill.
I hope these can help you when it comes to getting the education benefits.
If you have a question that is not answered here, feel free to ask in the comment area below and we will do our best to find an answer or guide you to someone who can answer it.
Here are 33 top questions and answers.
They are not in any certain order.
1- Can I use both the Post 9/11 Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill for education benefits?
No; you must make a decision as to which one you will use.
2- How long must I serve to be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill?
You must have 2 years of continuous enlistment.
3- How are payments made on the Montgomery GI Bill?
All payments are made directly to the student.
4- How long must I serve to be eligible for the Post 9/11 Bill?
After 9-10-2001, you must serve 90 days active aggregate service or 30 days continuous if a disability discharge.
5- How are payments made on the Post 9/11 Bill?
The tuition is paid directly to the school.
The housing benefit and books and supplies are paid directly to the student.
6- What are the benefits of the Post 9/11 Bill?
The benefits must be used at an accredited school.
Some of the benefits include:
- Tuition and fees
- Monthly living stipend
- Up to $1,000 per school year for books and supplies
- Up to $1,200 for tutoring
- Up to $2,000 for licensing or certification tests
7- How long after my discharge do I have to use my GI Bill benefits?
With the Montgomery GI Bill, you have 10 years after discharge to use your benefits.
With the Post 9/11 Bill, you have 15 years after discharge o use the benefits.
8- Can I transfer my benefits to a family member?
The Post 9/11 Bill has allowed this option as long as the service member meets certain stipulations that include:
- Be on active duty or selected reserve at the time of the request.
- Be eligible.
- Have a minimum of 6 years service in the Armed Forces.
- Agreement to serve an additional 4 years from the date of transfer.
9- If I already have 4 years left on my service contract, does that count?
If you have less, you either must extend or reenlist to meet the requirements and yes, you can reenlist before your contract is up.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- National Guard GI Bill: 16 Things You Should Know
- What are the Benefits of Staying in the Army National Guard or Reserves Past 20 Years?
- Top 10 Military Health Insurance Benefits
10- What happens if I cannot complete the additional service?
It will be treated as an over payment and will need to be paid back.
There are exceptions which include butt are not limited to:
- Death of the service member
- Separation due to a pre-existing medical condition
- Hardship separation
- Separation for a physical or mental condition that was not from soldier misconduct but interferes with his/her abilities
11- Can Veterans transfer GI Bill benefits?
No, you must be on active duty or selected reserve.
12- Are all my GI Bill benefits transferable?
Yes, all unused benefits can be transferred up to 36 months.
13- Who can I transfer GI Bill benefits to?
You can transfer those benefits to your spouse or dependent children up to 23 years of age.
Your dependents must be enrolled in DEERS/RAPIDS to be able to receive the transfer.
If they are not already enrolled, you should do so before attempting to transfer benefits.
14- How long does it take for the transfer request approval?
It normally takes 1 or 2 business days to complete a transfer.
15- My request for transfer was denied. Why?
A denial comes in at 1 of 4 reasons. They are:
- You have less than 4 years remaining to ETS. All you need to do is to extend or reenlist.
- You made a bad entry. Normally, this is not a selection of months to be transferred. Just log back in and resubmit the transfer request making sure to enter the months to be transferred.
- You have less than 6 years of military service. Until you reach 6 years, GI Bill benefits cannot be transferred.
- You do not meet the Post 9/11 Bill requirements.
16- I reenlisted, but the transfer was denied. Why?
More than likely, your contract has not been filed in your IPERMS.
Simply contact your unit and request that they update your IPERMS file and then resubmit the transfer request.
17- Can I use other education benefits (MGIB, REAP, EATP, Etc…) with my Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits?
The answer is no.
You can only use one or the other.
18- What types of education and training can I use the Post 9/11 Bill for?
There are a host of items you can use the Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits for.
- Vocational training
- Technical training
- Correspondence training
- Cooperative training
- On-the-job training
- Entrepreneurship training
- Flight training
- Undergraduate and graduate degrees
- And much more.
19- When did the Post 9/11 GI Bill go into effect?
It went into effect on August 1st, 2009. The benefits cover classes and programs completed after July 31st, 2009.
20- Are there limits to the benefits if I attend school ½ time or less?
Percentages are lessened in these cases.
21- If I am on active duty, do I receive the housing stipend?
22- I was guaranteed the College Fund or Reserve Kicker when I joined. Do I still get it?
Yes; it will be added as an increase in the housing stipend, even if you are on active duty.
23- Can I use other educational benefits after my GI Bill is used up?
First, the maximum for both the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 Bill is 36 months.
If you have used the 36 months and want to use other education benefits, you can up to a maximum of 48 months.
24- Can I switch back to the Montgomery GI Bill after I am on the Post 9/11 Bill?
No; after you switch, you are no longer eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill.
25- I am attending a private school and the Post 9/11 Bill does not meet all the costs. Do I have to pay the excess?
Yes but, you may be able to covered under the Yellow Ribbon Program.
It is not for active duty members, just for veterans and their families.
Eligibility for he Yellow Ribbon Program includes:
- Being eligible for the maximum Post 9/11 Bill benefits
- Not on active duty
- The school must agree to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program
26- How do I apply for the Post 9/11 GI Bill?
You can do so at VA/DoD eBenefits
27- Am I better off using the Montgomery GI Bill, or the Post 9/11 Bill?
Every circumstance is different, so I recommend that you examine the complete benefits of each to weigh your decision.
Do keep in mind that once you choose the Post 9/11 Bill, you cannot switch back to the Montgomery GI Bill.
28- I am a veteran that retired 18 years ago. I did not use my Montgomery GI Bill benefits and I am seeking to pursue my education. Can I still use those benefits?
I am sorry to tell you no.
The Montgomery GI Bill benefits expire after 10 years.
Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits expire 15 years after discharge.
29- As a National Guard or Reserve member, what days count toward my eligibility of Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits?
All Title 10 active duty and some types of Title 32 orders count towards eligible time for the benefits.
30- What Title 32 orders count towards Post 9/11 GI Bill eligibility?
If it was for:
- Emergency response
- or organization, administration, instruction, recruitment or training of National Guard forces.
31: What happens if I drop a class that has been paid for via the GI Bill?
Normally, the school will make a refund directly to you and you will have to pay back the Department of Veterans Affairs.
32: Does Basic Training count towards my active duty service?
Yes but only after you have completed 2 years of active duty service.
33: What exactly was the new GI Bill 2.0 Upgrades?
Here were some loopholes in the original Post 9/11 Bill that needed to be mended.
A few members found a decrease in their benefits but for the most part, there were many improvements.
- Raising vocational rehabilitation benefits for disabled veterans.
- Adding the book stipend.
- Higher tuition benefits.
- Adding full time National Guard as beneficiaries.
- An improvement on Trade School benefits.
- Improvements on apprentice and on-the-job training benefits.
This by no means is an exhaustive list of frequently asked questions, but I believe they can help you understand the GI Bill better.
As I said earlier, if you have more questions that I did not answer here, or you would like to add some insights you discovered with either the Montgomery or Post 9/11 GI Bill, just post them in the comment area below.
I will do my best to find an answer for you.